Just imagine a spring without any birdsong. Silent Spring. That was the title of a book by Rachel Carson published in 1962. In the book she showed that excessive use of pesticides made the shells of birds’ eggs so thin they would break and the young would no longer hatch out. The life cycle would come to a stop.
I was aware of cycles as a young lad, but only occasionally did I act on that awareness. Of course, you separate the glass, the plastic, the paper and the compost from the rest of your rubbish, and you compensate for a flight now and then with a donation to Trees for All. And you think about it in your research on cycles. But it really came home to me when I looked at my mother’s life. On her 85th birthday I took a trip on the Rhine with her. Sitting in the forecastle of the boat, she read out the story of her life from birth to the present day, with quotes from children and grandchildren. I typed it all into the computer and now it’s in a little book. She died two years ago. Her world became steadily smaller and she went back to the world of her childhood. She was not afraid of death. She knew her life would continue after death and in any case, life went on in the lives of her children. She died on her side with her knees drawn up, like a baby. Cradle to cradle. Her cycle was complete. Now she is lying in the earth. Mother Earth.